WS6 – Chapter 5: Beginning Again (Original Version)

Chapter 5: Beginning Again (6×06 – WTWN)
By. Wilde Abrams

Artie Abrams rolled down the halls of William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. He’d managed to get some more time off from college, and he was back to do his friends Rachel and Kurt a favor and help mentor the inexperienced members of the newly reformed glee club, which they were co-directing.

He was headed to the glee club office to see Rachel a few hours before the Monday meeting at her request.
He rolled up to the door and knocked on the door jam.
“Hi,” he greeted her, warmly.
“Hi Artie, come in,” she said rising from the desk where she was going through some sheet music. He rolled in through the door. She gave him a hug and then closed the door behind him.
“So,” she continued. “How’s everything going at the Brooklyn Film Academy?”
“Great,” he told her. “I just got an A on my last short film and my professors are submitting it to a couple film festivals. I’m getting good feedback on my proposal for my next one, too.”
“That’s great,” she told him. “I always knew you’d be successful.”
“How are things here?” He asked.
“That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about,” she told him. “Last week Sue surprised us by arranging an invitational between the Warblers, Vocal Adrenaline, and the New Directions.”
“What? Wait!” He asked. “Can she do that? Are your kids ready for that?”
“Well, she did,” Rachel told him. “And honestly, I really didn’t think that they were. We were really left scrambling, and then when she locked Kurt and Blaine in a fake elevator-”

“-long story.” She told him. “Anyway, I had to punt. But, between Sam and I, we managed to recruit two new members. A football player named Spencer-”
“-The one Kurt had been trying to recruit?-”
“-Yes,” she confirmed, “and the other one,” she added, cautiously, “was your ex-girlfriend… Kitty-”
“-You managed to recruit Kitty?” She nodded. “That’s great!” He smiled.
“So you’re not mad?”
“Of course not!” He told her. “In case you forgot, I tried to recruit her when I was here before.”
“Yeah, but it didn’t go over too well, as I recall,” Rachel reminded him.
“True,” he responded. “I was going to try again today, but I guess I don’t have to now. How did you manage to do it? If memory serves you didn’t even know much about her and she didn’t really care for you that much.”
“Honestly,” she said, “I did a little research, swallowed my pride, and appealed to her love of music and performing. I also gave her my word that I wasn’t leaving until Glee was back at McKinley permanently.
“I was a little reluctant at first, but now I am so I glad that I did! She’s super talented and a natural born leader. She helped me with the set list, and was instrumental in rallying the others into a more… cohesive group.”
“Yeah,” he told her. “Kitty is a natural leader, and would likely have been team captain or co-captain had the New Directions not been disbanded.”
“Do you mind if I ask you something?” Rachel asked. “If it’s too personal you can just say so.”
“Okay,” he said. He had a pretty good idea of what was coming.
“What exactly happened between the two of you? Because I get the feeling she’s harboring some ill feelings.”
“Oh right; you weren’t around for it.” He sighed and said, “Long story short, after becoming friends my senior year, and having this subtle flirtation for a good chunk of the year, we dated the last couple months of the year and into the summer. Then we broke up because of how none of the other alumni were able to maintain long distance relationships for a long period of time, and it wasn’t fair to either of us to drag it out. I thought at the time that we were okay with it, but in retrospect it affected both of us more than we expected. She was still really upset when we saw her on the football field during Homecoming Week, and it dug up some old feelings for me too. It’s probably mostly my fault. I miss her too.
“She’s actually the one who gave me the push I needed to get over my fears and move to New York for film school, even conspired with my mom to do it. Out of all the girls I’ve dated, she’s the only one l really miss, and I regret the breakup. I was actually planning on talking to her about it once I convinced her to re-join the New Directions.
“Why do you ask? Did she say anything?
“No,” she lied. “At least not directly. But I get the impression that she is still hurting from something more than just the loss of Glee Club and her friends. If you still care for her, you should probably talk to her.”
“I was planning to,” he assured her, “but thanks.”
“If you’re open to suggestions, I have something that might be beneficial to both your relationship and this week’s lesson.”
She handed him some sheet music.
# # # # #
Later that afternoon, Artie rolled into the choir room. He noticed that there were now chairs occupying the spot in the center of the front row where he traditionally parked his wheelchair and the twin Cheerios occupied those chairs. After a moment’s hesitation he moved over to the far side of the room near where Finn had generally sat. He noticed that Kitty was sitting on the opposite end of the row next to Spencer. They eyed each other briefly, but said nothing. He also noticed that Brittany and Santana were there sitting in the back row and waved at them briefly.
The bell rang and Rachel and Kurt rushed in.
“Hello, winners!” Rachel greeted them. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still basking in the glow of our first of many championship trophies.”
She glanced over at the invitational trophy sitting on the shelf. The old New Directions trophies were, apparently, still safely in storage somewhere.
“Well,” Kurt continued. “Rachel and I want our champions to celebrate another champion.”
“Katniss Everdeen!” Brittany wanted to know.
“Close,” Kurt said.

“Burt Bacharach,” Rachel announced excitedly.
They slid the whiteboard aside to reveal his name on the board.
“This is a good time to go to the bathroom or get a snack,” Artie heard Kitty mumble to Spencer. Still the same old Kitty.
“Burt Bacharach has written seventy three -count ’em- seventy three Top 40 hits,” Kurt informs them. “He’s also won three Oscars, two Golden Globes, a boatload of Grammys, and his music has been featured on everything from The Simpsons to Good Fellas.”
“And you can’t help but grin when you listen to his music,” Rachel added. “His songs are uplifting and theatrical and optimistic.”
“We need to soak up all his uplifting energy as we get ready for Sectionals,” Kurt said. “Which are five weeks away, but I guarantee you, Vocal Adrenaline and the Warblers are doing everything in their power to regain their former glory.
“But fear not, because we have a secret weapon,” Rachel added.
“Is that my cue?” Mercedes asked entering the room amid cheering. “Diva! Yes, I am here to mentor you, and yes, these are my beautiful diamonds, and yes, my single “Shakin’ My Head” is number 89 on iTunes.”
She began handing out copies of her CD.
“Ooh! So, which one of you wants me to mentor you? Somebody?”
“- Me, me, me.”
“- Me.”
“- Oh, my God! ”
Kitty feigned excitement and enthusiasm with the others, but secretly wanted to roll her eyes. She’d experienced Mercedes mentorship before. The last time she’s done this she’d spent 80% of her time helping one student, and given the rest of them some general tips. She really wondered who she would zero in on this time now that Marley was gone, and questioned whether she could learn much more from the pop diva.
Kitty did not have much more time to think about it because Rachel and Kurt called the group back together.
“Okay everyone! Okay everyone,” Rachel said “I know everybody’s excited but I need everybody to take their seats so we can get started.”
When everyone had taken their seats, including Mercedes who took a vacant chair, and turned to face her, Rachel continued. “This week we’re going to continue our practice of singing songs about this week’s theme, and to kick us off I have asked one of our alumni mentors Artie, to give us a little example of what we’re looking for.”
Artie smiled and went go over to where his guitar was sitting on the guitar stand he took it up into his arms and rolled over to the center of the room where he faced the group. Then he began a solo rendition of Only Love Can Break A Heart by Gene Pitney.
Only love can break a heart
Only love can mend it again
Last night I hurt you
But darling
Remember this
Only love can break a heart
Only love can mend it again hmm hmm

You know I’m sorry
I’ll prove it
With just one kiss

The first half of the song was sung to the group in general with several pointed glances in Kitty’s direction, however when he began the second verse it was clear that the song was being sung to her and only her.

Give me a chance to make up for the harm I’ve done
Try to forgive me, and let’s keep
The two of us one
Please let me hold you
And love you
For always and always
Only love can break a heart
Only love can mend it again
Only love can break a heart
Only love can mend it again
The room erupted in a round of applause from both the students, alumni and teachers as Artie finished the song. He glanced over at Kitty and saw that while she was not crying they were definitely the beginning of tears welling in her eyes.
# # # # #
“Can we talk?” Artie asked as he approached Kitty as the two of them exited the choir room about a half an hour later.
“Yeah, I’d like that,” she answered cautiously, glancing at him.
Without a word he followed her through the halls of the school. She didn’t say where she was leading him, but he instinctively knew. Rachel had once said that the auditorium was her and Finn’s Jerusalem, the place where everything in life lead them back to. But for Kitty and Artie it had been under the stars and planets in the astronomy classroom, where they had held their secret meetings and make out sessions before they had gone public with their relationship. It was where they had shared their first kiss and where she had told him that she loved him for the first time. It felt like so long ago, but the room itself had barely changed.
She entered the room, locking the door after he had followed her in. Without a word she took her place at the table in the back row and waited for him to begin.
After putting the parking brake on his chair, he took a deep breath, met her eyes with his, and simply said, “I’m sorry…”
Silence filled the space between them for several awkward moments until she broke it.
“Is that all you are going to say?” She asked, with a hint of irritation in her voice.
“No,” he answered, “but it’s what I want to start with and I wanted to let that really sink in before I continued. I screwed up.”
Her confused expression begged the question. ‘That’s it?’
“I suppose you expect all to be forgiven now?” She asked, slightly more irritated.
“No,” he told her. “I don’t expect anything from you. I gave up any right there when we broke up.”
She nodded, pleasantly suspended.
“That’s good,” she admitted, “because it’s going to take more than a song and an apology; as much as I want things to be okay between us again, I’m not there yet.”
He nodded nervously.
The two of them sat in silence for a few more minutes.
“Kitty,” he began again. “I’m not going to make excuses for what happened; all I can tell you is that I lost myself for a while. I saw New York as my chance to start over with a fresh start. I’ve learned a lot more about myself the last year and a half, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But the biggest mistake I made was turning my back on my best friend, lover, and honestly the only person outside of my family who always had my back. I am so sorry that I hurt you. I’m not expecting you to forgive me right away, but I do need you to know that I still care about you.”
“I know,” she admitted. “I still care about you too. I almost.. I don’t know, wish I didn’t…. Maybe that’s why this hurt so much.”
He flinched almost in pain at this revelation.
“I wish I could take that hurt away. I really do,” he told her, tears welling in his eyes.
“I know that too,” she responded, feeling the tears herself. “But the wounds are so deep. You weren’t just another boyfriend to me, Artie. I thought you were the love of my life.”
“And now?” He prompted.
“I really don’t know,” she admitted.
“For whatever it’s worth,” he admitted, “so did I.”
“Then why did we break up?” She wanted to know, the tears beginning to flow.
His heart broke, knowing that he was responsible for her sadness. He reached out and took her hand and began to cry as well.
“At the time I didn’t think it would be fair to you to delay what I saw as an inevitable breakup,” he answered honestly. “It happened to literally every one of the Glee club alumni. I thought that if we had a long drawn breakup, you’d grow to resent me.”
“Artie,” she told him, moving closer, “we are not them. I knew you were graduating in a few months when I chose to go into a relationship with you. Don’t you think I should have had a say in whether I was willing to make the sacrifices that were needed to do long distance? Because I was. If I wasn’t willing and didn’t think it was worth it, I never would have gotten into a serious relationship with you in the first place.”
“You’re right,” he admitted. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“I don’t know either,” she added.
“I’m so sorry,” he plead. “It was so selfish and inconsiderate to you…”
They both sat there for a few moments until they had finished crying.
“But that’s not even the worst of it,” she continued, wiping away her tears. “The breakup was hard enough on me, but what I didn’t count on is you exiting my life entirely. It stung when Sam, Blaine, and the others began to ignore those of us who were left behind, but before we started dating you and I were friends. For a long time you were my only friend in Glee Club. I never expected to lose my best friend too! ”
“I’m sorry, okay,” he added. “I understand that I hurt you, but did it even occur to you that I was hurting too? For the first month after I moved to New York I slept for 12 to 14 hours a day, and when I wasn’t sleeping, I walked around in a daze.
“I didn’t snap out of it until classes started in September.”
Kitty thought about asking if he’d dated anyone in college once he snapped out of his funk, but decided that she really didn’t want to know.
“One month is nothing, Artie,” she told him. “It took me six to get to the point where I wasn’t thinking of you throughout the day, and crying myself to sleep at night.”
Artie just sat there stunned. He had no idea it had been so hard on her.
“I had no idea…”
“Yeah… So please don’t expect me to feel too sorry for you, okay? ” she retorted.
“Okay,” he concluded. “I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.”
“Yeah, it is,” she wasn’t going to let him off the hook so easily.
“I’m sorry,” he said again, taking both hands this time. “I don’t know what else I can say. I will do literally anything it takes to make it up to you.”
“Talk is cheap, Artie!” she told him. “Saying you’re sorry isn’t going to cut it. If you want to regain my trust, you’re going to have to work to earn it back.”
“I know,” he said solemnly, nodding, “and I will.”
The two of them sat there in silence for a long time.
“So where does this lead us?” She finally asked, wiping her tears.
“I don’t know. Maybe we can try to start again as friends and leave it open to see where it leads,” he suggested.
“Is that all that you want?” She asked, slightly disappointed. “To be friends?”
“No,” he admitted. “I want things to be like they were before we broke up, but I know that I am going to need to work to regain your trust.”
“I’d like that too,” she confessed, “and yeah, you’re right. As much as I want the same thing, I’m not ready yet.”
The two of them shared a heartfelt embrace.
“I love you so much,” he told her.
“I love you too,” she admitted.
“And I’m so sorry I hurt you”
“I know.”

# # # # #

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