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02 June 2012 @ 06:15 pm
Figure Study #23 - Part One  
Title: Figure Study #23
Pairings: Puck/Kurt
Rating: R
Spoilers: AU S3


Summary: The summer before his senior year, Puck meets Mrs. Miller, an elderly lady. At her influence, he takes up a new hobby which inadvertently leads to a lot of lifestyle changes and personal growth for Puck. One of these said changes is his view of Kurt Hummel. Klainers can rest easy because there is no Klaine and so, no Blaine-bashing in this AU... as if I would bash my sweet Baby Blaine.

Author's Note: This was a spur of the moment thing, BUT I'm kind of ridiculously excited about it. We'll see how far I go with it.

It had simultaneously been a long and short summer for Puck. Long because of all the changes and personal growth he had undergone and short because having such an eventful summer meant that it felt like it had gone by quickly. Puck had spent the first half of his summer cleaning pools and hooking up with the women who owned them. But, it was during one of his pool cleaning jobs that everything changed. He had silently bemoaned his current client, an elderly couple probably in their 70s or 80s who had a small specialized pool for their all their achy, senior citizen issues, but once he had arrived; he had been instantly captivated by something he had never given a passing thought before. Art.

Mrs. Miller was standing in front of a wooden easel on the back stone patio, a classic wood palette in one hand, a long-handled paintbrush in the other, and a smear of dark purple across her chin. Puck dropped his gear unceremoniously on the perfectly manicured lawn to get her attention.

“Ah, Mister Puckerman,” she said, looking away from the canvas she had been regarding with a shrewd expression and smiling warmly at him. “I’m glad you could make it.”

She looked at the watch on her left wrist before looking back at him with a smile.

“And only twenty minutes late,” she offered with, her thin, age-spotted lips turning up into a smirk.

“Not bad for me,” replied Puck cockily, though he didn’t feel half as cocky as he hoped he sounded.

It was hard to keep up the confident, badass charade when there was no sexy cougars to tease, just a little old lady who looked like all she could do for him was bake him a batch of cookies (and not in an innuendo sense). His smirk faltered when she lifted an eyebrow at him. It had reminded him of another ‘lady’ he knew and he randomly wondered how Kurt Hummel was spending his summer. It was a weird thought, considering he hardly gave any of the glee kids much thought outside of school, especially not Lady Hummel.

“I’ll just get right to it, then,” stammered Puck gruffly after a nervous swallow.

The elderly women pushed her glasses up her nose with her pinky finger, paint brush still in hand, and nodded at Puck before turning back to her canvas. Puck craned his neck to try to catch a glimpse of what she was painting but it would be impossible to see from his angle without making it obvious he was curious, and let’s face it, The Puckzilla was not interested in a little old lady’s painting. It was probably an old fashioned, super clichéd painting of her Irises or something. That’s right, Puck knew what Irises were and that was totally not gay of him, either. You spend as much time in people’s backyards as Puck and you learn a thing or two about landscaping. Those purple things were definitely Irises and seeing as Mrs. Miller had purple paint on her face, Puck reasoned his judgmental guess was spot on.

Puck rifled through his cleaning supplies before selecting what he needed and getting started on the Miller’s pool. The pool was small so it should have taken him less time to clean than the others and he wasn’t being constantly interrupted by horny housewives in bikinis, but the specialized pool had more jets to pay special attention to and, besides that, Puck couldn’t help but be curious of Mrs. Miller and her painting. He worked silently for fifteen minutes, every once in a while looking up to check of Mrs. Miller who was still standing at her canvas. He would catch himself staring at the way her facial expressions changed while he arm moved quickly as she brushed over the surface of the canvas before mixing colours together on her wooden palette.

Despite having dismissed it as some domestic craft when he had first arrived, he couldn’t keep his mind off of the painting. He wanted to know what she was painting. He was curious as to why it caused her to look so pensive at times and radiant at others. For such an aged woman with a face full of lines and age spots, she looked amazing when she painted.

“It really is something to watch an artist work, isn’t it,” came a quiet, low voice from next to Puck and he startled so hard he nearly dropped his leaf skimmer into the pool.

“Easy son,” laughed the voice and Puck turned to see a short old man dressed in an olive green sweater and tan trousers standing next to him. “You sure are a jumpy one.”

“Mr. Miller?” ventured Puck.

“Yes?” answered the old man, giving Puck a curious look.

Puck shrugged and turned his attention back on Mrs. Miller standing on the opposite side of the pool. She was tapping her right hand against her chin thoughtfully and Puck suddenly knew why her face kept getting more and more paint on it.  Her face lit up as if in silent ‘eureka’ and she quickly put her brush back to the canvas.

“Do you paint?” asked Mr. Miller in his aged voice.

“No,” replied Puck, shaking his head. “No, never.”

“You should try sometime,” replied Mr. Miller with a tired smile. “Even if you’re no good at it like me, it can be quite... therapeutic.”

Puck furrowed his brow and gave Mr. Miller a look that plainly said he had absolutely no use for such sissy stuff. Mr. Miller simply smiled at him before hobbling around the outside of the pool and across the intricate stonework of the ground-level patio to join his wife. Puck went back to work but watched the two out of the corner of his eye.

Later, when he had finished cleaning the Miller’s pool and had all his gear packed into the box of his junky pick-up truck, Puck tracked down Mr. Miller to get his pay. He had wanted to use it as an excuse to approach Mrs. Miller and see what she had been working on, but she, along with her easel and art, had disappeared while Puck had been loading his equipment into his truck. He called into the house from the patio screen door, instead, and Mr. Miller appeared moments later.

“Come in,” said Mr. Miller, opening the screen door and beckoning Puck inside. “I’ll just go get my chequebook.”

Puck rolled his eyes and fidgeted while he stood just inside the patio door on the edge of the connected living and dining rooms. He was overheated and hungry and in a sour mood because taking this particular job meant he didn’t get an afternoon fuck like he had become accustomed to over the past month. It was then that he noticed the large painting hanging on the adjoining wall directly over a white chesterfield.

It was a flower, but it was so more than that. It was vibrant and colourful and bursting with energy and life. It almost looked like it was on fire with a centre of red and yellow and petals that looked like licks of flame. The blue greens at the bottom were cooler and more peaceful, like a fountain of water on a hot day. If Puck squinted, the whites and reds and yellows almost looked like feathered wings. It was so many things. It was life. Puck was mesmerized by it.

“You like it? It’s my wife’s,” came Mr. Miller’s low voice surprising Puck out of his reverie.

“You sure are a jumpy one,” chuckled the old man as he scribbled with a shaky hand on a cheque in his black, leather-bound chequebook.

Puck blinked slowly.

“You... you mean Mrs. Miller painted that?” he asked incredulously.

“Yep,” chirped the old man as he jerkily tore out the cheque and held it out to Puck with a shaky hand. “She teaches a class on Fridays. If you’re curious, you should come by. She has them in the conservatory.”

He pointed with the jut of his chin out toward the glass-walled and roofed sun room attached to the far side of the back of the large house. Puck was pensive for a moment but then let out a little chuckle, turning his persona back on.

“Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like my scene,” said Puck with grin and a lowered eyebrow.

“You know where we are if you change your mind,” said the old man who stood slightly hunched over. “It’s at seven o’clock.”

Puck rolled his eyes. He pocketed the cheque and thanked Mr. Miller for his business before leaving through the patio door. As he crossed the backyard to head to his truck parked out front, he passed the back door of the conservatory. The canvas Mrs. Miller has been working on was leaning against the side of the building to dry. Puck paused to give it a curious once-over. It was indeed a painting of the purple Irises growing in her back garden, but like the large painting in their living room, it was so much more. If he didn’t know better, Puck would have thought it was animated. The Irises looked as if they were moving in a dance across the canvas. Their bright purples were alive and three-dimensional; their stems were chains holding them to the earth while their green leaves were arms stretching out toward freedom. Puck inhaled a sharp breath, suddenly realizing he had stopped breathing.

“I haven’t decided on a name for it, yet,” said Mrs. Miller, suddenly standing at his side, wiping her hands with a rag. “But I’m quite happy with how it turned out.”

“It’s me,” whispered Puck hoarsely, ignoring the fact that the Millers seemed to have a weird thing for sneaking up on people.

“What?” asked Mrs. Miller in surprise.

“The painting,” explained Puck, clearing his throat a few times in an attempt to retrieve his regular speaking voice. “It’s me.”

“No,” replied Mrs. Miller slowly as if talking to a confused child. “It’s a painting of my Irises.”

Puck shook his head when she gestured to the patch of purple and white Irises growing in her garden along her clichéd little white picket fence.

“No,” said Puck, rubbing his fingers over his sweaty brow. “It’s me. Look at how they are struggling, like they don’t know what to do with themselves. At first you think they are dancing, like they love their lives, but when you really look, you can see they are fighting to free themselves...”

He let his voice taper off as he spoke, his explanation going unfinished, his thought process left to continue silently in his head. His eyes began to fill with tears.

“Noah?” asked Mrs. Miller in concern.

“Nothing,” said Noah, suddenly and dismissively. “Nevermind.”

He wiped the back of his hand quickly across his face to clear it of any signs of weakness before flashing the older woman a forced smile.

“See you around, Mrs. Miller,” he said before briskly walking away.

Puck had blared his music as he drove away. Letting the screeching electric guitars, banging drums, and raging voices take over his conscious as he drove to his next job. He didn’t think about the Millers or the flower paintings or the opening invitation to Mrs. Miller’s painting class again until three days later.

It was a Thursday and He was allowing Mrs. De Luca to lead him into her empty house. She had interrupted him as he was cleaning of her pool with an impromptu make-out session. As he stalked after her, though, his attention was caught by a vivacious green and red painting hanging on the wall at the bottom of the extravagant staircase. Dick already half hard and chest heaving with excitement, Puck stopped short at the bottom of the staircase. He tilted his head to the side and stared at the painting. Though he had never seen it before, the style of it looked familiar. The background was all greens and aqua blues, and in the foreground was a simple partially opened red Carnation. Somehow, the picture looked incredibly sad and something in Puck’s chest twisted painfully.

“Noah?” called out Mrs. De Luca in a succulent sexy voice from above. “Are you coming?”

Tearing his eyes away from the painting, Noah smirked.

“Not yet,” he called back in a growly voice. “But soon we both will be.”

He gave the painting one last once over, noticing the artist’s signature scratched out messily at the bottom corner, ‘Miller’, before running up the stairs to join Mrs. De Luca who was most likely already waiting for him in the master bedroom.

After his encounter with Mrs. De Luca, Puck couldn’t get his mind off of Mrs. Miller and her lively and personifying flower paintings. By the time seven o’clock came around the next evening, Puck found himself sitting in his truck parked on the side of the road in front of the Miller’s house. His hands were clenched around his steering wheel as he stared angrily down the street mentally telling himself this was stupid.

“Fuck it,” he finally said after ten minutes had ticked by and he turned off the truck and got out.

He slammed the door making the whole truck rock lightly and stormed up the front steps of the Miller’s house. With an angry, jerking movement, he raised his hand and pressed the doorbell. Moments later Mr. Miller opened the door and smiled brightly through the storm door at Puck.

“Noah,” he rasped out brightly. “I’m glad you decided to come.”

Mr. Miller opened the storm door and let Puck inside. Letting the screen door fall shut, he led Puck through the cluttered house toward the sun room or conservatory as he had so pompously called it earlier that week. Puck rolled his eyes at himself, Mr. Miller wasn’t pompous at all, he really needed to stop judging people.

The elderly man pushed open the door into the sun room to reveal Mrs Miller standing at the front of the room working away at a canvas on an easel and three other senior citizens standing at similar easels working their own paintings.

“We have a late-comer,” called out Mr. Miller after clearing his throat to get his wife’s attention.

Puck did an internal groan as all the old people looked in his direction. This had been a huge mistake. He wasn’t even sure why he had come in the first place. He wondered if he could just turn and make a run for it.

“Noah,” called Mrs. Miller happily. “Come in! Let’s get you set up.”

Noah tried to smile at her but he knew it came out as more of a grimace. She paid it no heed, though, and set up a fifth easel with a blank canvas before pulling out a few brushes, a new wooden palette and a set of tubes of paint. She directed Noah to stand in front of the easel and stuck the palette in his hand before beginning to squeeze out various different colours of paint onto it. Noah watched her in shocked silence.

“We’re practising some simple still-life’s tonight,” she explained as she continued to put dollops of paint on his artist’s palette. “See the bowl of fruit on the table?”

Hesitantly, Noah turned his dazed gaze away from the palette in his hand to the table at the front of the room draped in a lacy white table cloth where a grey ceramic bowl filled with various fruits was perched. He furrowed his brow and looked at Mrs. Miller.

“You expect me to paint that?” he asked in disbelief.

“That’s the plan,” chirped Mrs. Miller light-heartedly as she recapped the last tube of paint. “Have you ever used oil paint before?”

“No,” replied Puck. “I haven’t used any paint before, other than finger painting in preschool.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Mrs. Miller, her wrinkled face pulling into an excited smile. “Well, this will be fun, then.”

She passed Puck a long-handled paint brush with a bright smile and he took it with a frightened frown.

“The thing you want to remember when using oils,” she said it as Puck fumbled to hold the paint brush in his fingers like he had seen her doing earlier that week. “Is to work from dark to light. It is different than working with watercolours. You paint on the dark colours first and then go back in to add the light ones. Also, oil paint takes forever to dry, so try not to put the paint on too thickly.”

Puck just stared at her dumbly.

“Alright,” she said, clapping her hands together excitedly. “Let’s get started.”

With that, she walked away with movements that were strangely graceful despite her decrepit hobbling. As she turned her back to him to go back to her own painting, Puck leaned over, craning his neck to look at the other people’s paintings. The old lady standing next to him glared at him and moved to block his view of her painting. Puck rolled his eyes and sent her an angry glare before turning back to his blank canvas.

“Well,” he said quietly to himself, taking in a deep breath and letting it out. “Here goes nothing.”

And that was house Puck found himself spending the rest of his summer.  He would clean pools during the day, sleeping with lonely house wives where applicable, and then drive over to the Miller’s on Friday evenings to paint with a group of senior citizens. At first it was a struggle for him to make the globs of paint on his canvas look anything like the items he was painting. Mrs. Miller was adamantly for method learning and simply had him paint, giving him helpful tips and kind comments throughout his process. He actually picked it up rather quickly, to the dismay of Mrs. Miller’s other students. His brush strokes were long and sure while the old ladies’ hands shook leaving stuttering strokes on their own canvases.

Puck was finding himself less interested in his afternoon fucks and more excited about the way the light hit different objects or how he noticed an array of colours in items that he had originally thought were one flat colour. Soon, he was showing up at the Miller’s house on evenings other than just Fridays to spend time painting with Mrs. Miller. He lost a few of his pool-cleaning clients when he had turned into the pool boy who actually just cleaned pools but he didn't mind so much.

As the summer drew to an end, Puck had only half the clientele that he had at the beginning of the summer, but there was a corner of the Miller’s storage shed dedicated to the collection of paintings he had completed and a growing corner of his brain dedicated to things like how he liked to thin his paint with walnut oil or how he had noticed that shadows are actually blue, sometimes an indigo purple, not black or grey. Puck was seeing the world in a whole different light and in doing so, and for the first time in a long time, he was excited about life.

( Next Chapter )

ted2011ted2011 on June 22nd, 2012 09:32 am (UTC)
I Love Puckurt!
I haven't started reading this yet, but you mentioned that you've never read/written Puckurt before, and I thought maybe you would like to.

Over at ff. net ADarkerHeaven wrote two amazing installments...
1.Can't Fight This Feeling http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6737520/1/

2.What Might Have Been (Sequel)

Sorry for the ugly links. :) Anyway, I'm off to read your Puckurt story now. I know it's gonna be perfect, because everything you write is, and I'm going to fall in love with it. There just isn't enough Puckurt out there, so I'm already glad that you decided to indulge on this whim. :)
Samdareu2beme on June 22nd, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
Re: I Love Puckurt!
Ooooh thank you for the recs. After I wrote the first chapter.. or well, the prologue of this, I joined the kurt_puck community here, so have been starting to find some lovely puckurt stories... a lot of them have the characters a little too simplified for me, but some of them are amazing.I look forward to checking out these two stories you linked me! I love recs!

And tthhaaank you for your vote of confidence, I hope I don't disappoint. I hope you found the Prologue of this first, though.

Edited at 2012-06-22 04:24 pm (UTC)
ted2011ted2011 on June 22nd, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Re: I Love Puckurt!
I can't find the prologue :( Help!

Oh and I forgot that ADarkerHeaven has an LJ too. She's working on another great Puckurt story called,
Howl(WIP): http://adarkerheaven.livejournal.com/tag/howl
It's a Werewolf AU-
Sumarry: Kurt Hummel is a young werewolf just trying to survive high school. As the son of the pack leader and a gifted male capable of bearing children, he is coveted by the other werewolf boys. However, it is the human bully, Puck, who is there in his time of need. Because it is taboo for a wolf to mate with a human, Kurt and Puck battle their attraction to one another until something
neither of them expected draws them together again.

It's fantastic so far, you have to read it. It has 11 chapters up at the moment. Happy reading! :)

Edited at 2012-06-22 06:07 pm (UTC)
Samdareu2beme on June 22nd, 2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: I Love Puckurt!
oh my gosh, im a moron.. this IS the prlogue... i named it part one here but introduction over on ffnet... sorry for messing with you!!!!! and i will check that link out, thank you so much.
ted2011ted2011 on June 22nd, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Re: I Love Puckurt!
No worries, it's an honest mistake. :) Now I'm gonna hunker down and read this. So excited!!
Samdareu2beme on June 22nd, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: I Love Puckurt!
Im excited to hear what you think of it! <3
ted2011ted2011 on June 22nd, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Wow, and that was just the intro!
I just fell for your Puck! And the whole painting thing got me wanting to try it too.
Samdareu2beme on June 22nd, 2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow, and that was just the intro!
ahhh! that means so much, thank you.